Nobel Prize Goes to Inventors of Blue LED: Why It Was Revolutionary

Blue-light innovation paved the way for a transformation in lighting efficiency
Oct 9, 2014 3:45 PM ET

The Great Energy Challenge Energy News

The 2014 Nobel Prize in physics went Tuesday to three scientists who gave lighting a makeover by inventing blue LED lights. The award recognizes a seemingly commonplace innovation, but one that has paved the way for a sea change in lighting efficiency that is under way around the world.

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura developed the blue light-emitting diode (LED) in Japan in the early 1990s, triggering a "fundamental transformation of lighting technology," according to a press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize.

Red and green diodes had been around for several years, but adding blue diodes allowed a mix that could produce practical white-light LED bulbs.

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